How is it Tuesday already? How is it possible that I’ve already been back for a week? Time flies when you’re having fun... and by having fun, I mean taking a week to get over your jetlag, crashing your mother’s social engagements, and talking about your Birthright trip and how much you love your new pals endlessly :)
So, this week is DineLA Week -- did any of you go anywhere yummy? For those of you who don’t know, DineLA is a two-week event where people in LA have the opportunity to try out certain different restaurants offering three-course special meals, including an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. Tons of restaurants all over the city participate, and it’s really a great way for people to try great new places and yummy new dishes on a budget - certain restaurants cost as little as $16, and the most anyplace charges is $44.
Usually, I’m way on top of my game and make lots of reservations at places weeks in advance, but because of the trip, I was a hot mess and didn’t do any except one -- tonight, I went to JiRaffe in Santa Monica with one of my all-time favorite people/rabbi extraordinare, Miss Elianna Yolkut. I just got home a few minutes ago and I am SO full and happy!
When Elianna picked me up, the first words out of her mouth were, “I hope we’re drinking tonight.” As soon as we got to the restauant - I ordered a mojito (my favorite) and she had a tangerine martini, which she declared tasted exactly like a creamsicle. I tried it - she was right.
To start, I had the wild mushroom salad with baby frisee, shaved parmesan, garlic croutons, and lemon-mushroom dressing. As most of you know, I am NOT a salad eater (lettuce is meant for rabbits, not people), but that salad was out of this world.
Elianna ordered the hamachi crudo - it was not originally offered on their menu, but if my memory serves me correctly, it had jalapeno, caperberries, and artichoke hearts. Look how gorgeous it is!
For our main courses, I had the pan roasted filet with pommes purees, organic swiss chard, red flame grapes, and black truffle beef sauce. Amazing.
Elianna ordered the Farmer’s Market eggplant-spinach-ricotta ravioli with fresh mozzarella, basil, marinara, and parmigiano-reggiano. Hers was so good too! I loved the eggplant.
And of course, what’s a meal without dessert? We split the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream and the caramel chocolate halsey with shortbread cookie crust.
By the time they arrived, we were stuffed, but we powered through :) at that point I was an extremely happy little queen, but then as soon as the check came, my dear friend grabbed it and insisted on treating me to dinner. How lucky am I!? Todah rabah Elianna, our next meal is for sure on me!
In short, I highly recommend JiRaffe. Our meal was truly excellent and the restaurant itself was gorgeous -- I took a peek at some framed restaurant reviews hanging on the wall, and one described the place as “a casual beach house, with some crystal chandeliers thrown in.” Perfect description - it’s cute and cozy and I can’t wait to return.
There’s still a few more nights, so if you’re interested, here’s the list of participating restaurants and the menus they’re offering. If I had been a better planner, I would have also tried Campanile, Gonpachi, Palate Food & Wine, and The Gorbals (even though I HATE the chef, Ilan Hall). If you end up going, I want to hear all about it!
There will be another two-week DineLA event in late 2010. I will definitely be more prepared when it comes back around :) Happy eating!